Health Tip #67

Health Tip 67

Health Tip #60

health-tip-60

Article to come…

Health Tip #53

health-tip-53

Article to come…

Health Tip #46

health-tip-46

What’s wrong with coffee?

If you depend on coffee to get you going in the morning or as an afternoon pick-me-up, you could be suffering from adrenal dysregulation.  Caffeine too late in the afternoon can disturb sleep which affects brain health, weight management and our body’s detox and repair.  Coffee is also a diuretic and can be dehydrating, especially if you drink coffee instead of drinking water.  Caffeine can also raise stress hormone levels like cortisol which make us store fat (particularly in our mid section).  Caffeine can also interfere with thyroid medication if taken at the same time.

Benefits of coffee

On the other hand, …recent studies have found that caffeine containing beverage such as tea and coffee have certain health promoting benefits.  Coffee is North Americans #1 source of antioxidants.  This isn’t because coffee is the most highly antioxidant food, but because of the sheer amount of coffee we drink.  Some of the health benefits found include: reduced stroke risk, lower rates of heart disease, lowered risk of type 2 diabetes, lower risk of heart rhythm problems, increased blood flow to blood vessels, lower risk of premature death, lower risk of Parkinson disease, lower risk of heart disease.

One man’s food is another man’s poison

Some experts even tell us caffeine’s effects on the body are not the same for everyone. We all have the gene CYP1A2 which helps break down toxins.  This gene comes in two types, 1A and 1F.  If we have the 1A version of the gene, coffee reduces our risk of heart attack.   But if we have the 1F version, coffee increases our risk of heart attack.

Choose wisely

To receive the benefits from drinking coffee and to minimize the negative side affects experts warn to choose our coffee wisely.

In order to receive health benefits from coffee the quality of the coffee must be considered.  According to Dave Asprey of Bulletproof Coffee, most studies which show that coffee is unhealthy, do not control for the production process behind the coffee. Different processing methods introduce radically different amounts of potent toxins into the coffee.

Asprey asserts, good coffee = good performance. Bad coffee = bad health.

“Clean” coffee needs to have minimal contamination from mycotoxins (mold toxins). Coffee is also one of the most heavily sprayed crops.  Most conventional coffee is contaminated with pesticides.  Ground coffee is also prone to rancidity.  Adding dairy to our coffee can interfere with some of the beneficial effects.  Sugar in our coffee only adds to the likelihood of developing insulin resistance.  White, chlorine bleached coffee filters can leach into our coffee.

Some attributes of a good quality coffee are that it is: tested for mycotoxins, organic, fair-trade, freshly ground (not pre-ground), and dark roast.

Limit coffee intake

Besides the quality of the coffee, Asprey goes on to say:

High amounts of caffeine can cause problems such as decreased insulin sensitivity, impaired brain function, jitters, nervousness, stomach discomfort, and decreased exercise performance. As with any drug, you can overdose. Moderate amounts of coffee will do nothing but good for most people.

Experts suggest limiting our coffee intake to 1 or 2 cups in the morning and switching to green tea in the afternoon.  Coffee should be strictly avoided for pregnant women.  As with coffee, the quality of green tea that we choose should be carefully considered.  Many green teas from China are contaminated with lead.  Japanese green tea is a better choice.  Tea also readily absorbs fluoride from the soil it is grown in which can be a problem for those with thyroid dysregulation.

And as mentioned before, when we need that morning cup of coffee to get us going, we may be dealing with much bigger issues.  Limiting coffee, restoring our adrenals and getting our hormones in balance should be the first line of business.

Health Tip #39

health-tip-39

What is the thyroid?

The thyroid is an endocrine gland.  It helps to regulate metabolism and weight.  Thyroid hormones influence every cell and process in the body including growth and development.

How does it work?

The thyroid produces three types of hormones:  T3, T4, and T2.  These hormones interact with all other hormones in our bodies.  The liver converts T4 into T3 (the active form).  T3 lowers cholesterol levels, regrows hair and helps maintain body weight by controlling metabolism.  T3 can be disrupted by stress, infections, nutritional imbalances, toxins and allergens.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is and under-active thyroid, when when our bodies don’t produce enough thyroid hormone.  Many, many people have sub-clinical hypothyroidism with no obvious signs or symptoms.

  • Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

    • Some symptoms of Hypothyroidism include: tiring easily and lack of sustained energy, depression, feeling of a “heavy” head, falling asleep sitting up, weight gain, dry skin and chronic hives, hair loss, always feeling cold, low basal body temperature, stiff and popping joints, tingling and numbness.

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is an over-active thyroid, when the thyroid secretes too much T4.

  • Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

    • Some symptoms of hyperthyroidism are: protruding eyes, menstrual cycle irregularities, weight loss, heartbeat irregularities, emotional instability, lack of mental focus, nervousness, restlessness, and frequent bowel movements.

Possible Causes of Thyroid Dysfunction and What to Avoid

Some possible underlying causes of thyroid dysfunction include: radiation exposure, chronic stress, nutrient debt (from eating processed foods, low HCl and malabsorption), heavy metal accumulation, pesticides, halogens (bromides, fluoride, chlorine), dysbiosis, free radical damage (low antioxidants), low iodine levels, low selenium levels, yo-yo dieting, metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance) and goitrogens (in soy and cabbage family foods), Food allergies and sensitivities, and gluten sensitivity.

Testing thyroid function

Lab tests may be done to access the function of the thyroid including: TSH test, free T4 and free T3 test, and a thyroid antibody test to test for an autoimmune reaction.  A self test can be performed as an initial indicator of low thyroid by taking our temperature, with a basal body thermometer, each morning, before getting out of bed, for at least three days.  Average body temperature measurements should not be below 97.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 36.4 degrees Celsius.

What to Add In

Things to add in to our diets and lifestyles to nourish the thyroid include:

  • Clean”  whole foods (as opposed to processed foods) to help reduce her exposure to toxins in the diet, particularly pesticides as they interfere with iodine uptake.
  • Shop the outside perimeter of the grocery store looking for nutrient dense, unprocessed whole foods.
  • A primarily plant based diet of brightly colored vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, will provide her with plenty of fiber and antioxidants.
  • Meals including protein and healthy fats to help us feel more satisfied and support blood sugar stability.  healthy fats such as butter, coconut oil, egg yolks and omega 3 oils (like those found in cold water fish, walnuts and pecans, will not make us fat but instead nourish the thyroid and help to regulate our weight).
  • Slow down, careful chewing, avoiding or limiting convenience foods (which lead to inflammation and thyroid problems), as well as drinking between meals (not with meals) so as to not dilute HCl.
  • Drinking pure or filtered water, which does not contain any fluoride or Chlorine.
  • Sea foods and Sea vegetables, (such as: kelp flakes or mixed seaweed flakes), rich in trace minerals and iodine, have a salty flavor and can be added (undetected) to soups and stews. Note: Iodine containing foods are recommended for non-autoimmune thyroiditis only. For autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s), they should be avoided.
*For more information on Hashimoto’s and molecular mimicry, see my tip on going gluten free.

Health Tip #34

health-tip-34

Soft drinks are addictive

If you are a regular soft drink consumer, one of the best things you can do for your health is to stop drinking soft drinks.  Soft drinks contain sugar, in the form of fructose, caffeine and a number of unsavory chemical flavors, coloring and preservatives.  Sugar and caffeine are very addictive substances.  In fact, sugar consumption increases dopamine and stimulates pleasure centers in our brains exactly the same way heroin does.

Soft drinks cause blood sugar dis-regulation

Consuming caffeine and sugar in this way can set you off on a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows as your body struggles to return to homeostasis after  their consumption.  Blood sugar rises rapidly.  The pancreas creates insulin to deal with the sugar.  As the blood sugar spikes, the liver deals with the sugar by storing it as fat.  The caffeine creates a stress response which raises blood pressure and the liver dumps more sugar into the bloodstream.  An hour later our blood sugar crashes leaving us looking for another sugar high.  The sustained level of sugar intake of a regular soft drink consumer, makes it impossible to lose weight and can lead to diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Fructose makes us fat

Most soft drinks are sweetened with fructose which is far worse for our health than regular sugar because fructose must be processed by the liver which then stores it as fat.  For this reason, fructose consumption has been associated with obesity.  Fructose has also been linked to increased levels of triglycerides which increases risk of heart disease.  The blood sugar roller coaster effect after fructose consumption also puts us a risk for insulin resistance and decreased leptin signaling.  Leptin controls appetite and fat storage.

Artificial sweeteners are no better

Finally, if we think we can avoid soft drinks negative effects by choosing the diet version, think again.  Diet sodas are often sweetened with Aspartame.  Aspartame has been associated with neurological disorders, brain tumors, liver problems, birth defects, diabetes, and other ailments.  Artificial sweeteners also disrupt appetite regulation and sends messages to keep eating more.

Healthier alternatives

The best thing we can do for our health when it comes to soft drinks is to just avoid them all together.  Try switching to spring or sparkling water, adding cucumber, lemon or lime for flavor.  Chilled herbal teas are flavorful and refreshing. Lacto-fermented drinks like kefir or kombucha can also be a healthier alternative.

Health Tip #5

health-tip-5

As with so many of these tips, you’ve heard this one before.  But again, along with this tip comes the all important why.  Why is it important to drink so much water?  To start with, the human body is comprised of 50-65% water.  Every cell in your body needs water for its proper function.

But there are other reasons too.  As one health expert puts it, “nature’s solution to pollution is dilution.”  We accumulate toxins in our bodies every day.  Some toxins come from our environment, some from the foods we eat and some even from our own emotions and as a byproduct of our own metabolic processes.  These toxins need continually flushing out of our systems.  If we don’t flush them out, they accumulate and cause health problems.

Another reason for drinking more water is dehydration.  You’re often dehydrated before you start feeling thirsty.  You might even mistake dehydration for hunger and eat when you really need to be drinking water.  You’re not hungry, you’re thirsty.

Start every morning with at least one big glass of water.  I try to drink a water bottle full of water every morning.

Overnight your body has been working hard to detoxify itself and all of those toxins need to be flushed out of the system.  Warm water with lemon is a great way to start your morning.  The lemon stimulates bile production in the liver helping you to detox.  Lemon water also helps your digestive system prepare for digesting food.

Try to avoid drinking water with meals.  Water dilutes, as we mentioned before, and water will dilute your stomach acid and hamper further digestive processes making it difficult for you to properly digest your food and extract their nutrients.